25 Oct 2002

PNG Highlands Highway in total ruins after years of neglect

4:28 pm on 25 October 2002

A Development Forum in Papua New Guinea has been told that successive governments have left the Highlands Highway in total ruins.

The Operations manager for Nuigini Oil, Hugh Greer, says the crime infested and badly damaged road had dramatically increased costs.

The Post Courier reports that Mr Greer told the Forum that the Highlands Highway was the country's single most important infrastructural asset, but neglected by past governments.

He says most of what makes modern living possible arrives in the Highlands via the road and all of the region's valuable coffee exports leave by the same route.

And Mr Greer says the Porgera Mine would not have been established without the highway and it continues to be a lifeline for Porgera and the oil and gas projects in the Southern Highlands.

He says further down the road, Ramu Sugar needs the road to transport out fifty thousand tonnes of exports.

Mr Greer says past governments have failed to understand the importance of the Highway or if they did they failed to invest in the essential ongoing cost of maintenance.

He says when it functioned properly the road encouraged business and the growth of agriculture but this has now ceased.